Saturday, August 1, 2015

Ben Revere Goes to the Blue Jays at Deadline

As the MLB non-waiver trade deadline arrived yesterday afternoon, the Phillies had one more deal completed, sending outfielder Ben Revere to the Toronto Blue Jays for a pair of pitching prospects.
The Revere trade was the final in a series of moves this week that saw the team say goodbye to Cole HamelsJake Diekman, and Jonathan Papelbon earlier. 
The three deals ultimately yielded the club a half-dozen new pitching prospects, as well as talented catching and outfield prospects, and an injured MLB-level pitcher in Matt Harrison.
Revere had come to the Phils in a trade from the Minnesota Twins during the 2012 Winter Meetings in exchange for pitchers Vance Worley and Trevor May, after having been the Twins 1st round pick at 28th overall in the 2007 MLB Amateur Draft.
He broke into the big leagues with the Twins in 2010, and became a starter in their outfield the following season. 
Including his time in both Minnesota and Philly, Revere has accumulated 664 career hits in parts of 6 seasons, with a career .292 batting average and 169 stolen bases.
The Blue Jays are a team of big boppers, having just acquired powerful shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to go along with sluggers like Josh DonaldsonJose BautistaEdwin Encarnacion, and Russell Martin
But with the trading away of Jose Reyes in order to obtain Tulo, the top-of-the-order speed threat that Revere can bring was missing.
"It's been great here.... It was a blessing to be a part of this organization." ~ Revere, on his time in Philly
Revere should step right into the Blue Jays outfield, and be inserted into the leadoff spot in their batting order, though he could also hit in the 9-hole for Toronto with the American League utilization of the Designated Hitter position offering a bit more lineup flexibility.
"It's been a fun ride," said Revere, per Philly.com's Ryan Lawrence. "I know I've had my up and downs for the past three seasons, but I think it's been great. The fans, the coaches, my teammates - everybody. People I've met here, around the community. It's been great here. They've been treating me and my family well. It was a blessing to be a part of this organization."
The Phillies had acquired Revere to become a new, speedy centerfielder in the wake of the trades that had sent away Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence months earlier. The hope was that he could develop into a key piece of a new generation of players that would help the team start winning again.
During his time in Phillies pinstripes, Revere hit .303 with a .331 on-base percentage. He led the National League in Hits last season with 184, and his 49 steals a year ago were the most by any Phils player in decades. 
This year, splitting his time between center and left field, Revere was hitting .298 with 49 runs scored and 24 steals, leading the team in each of those categories.
While Revere did what the team was hoping: get on base and provide a legitimate speed threat in the batting order, he had holes in his game that limited his effectiveness. 
Ultimately, the 27-year old became a chip that the Phils felt they could flip for more future assets as they continue their rebuilding efforts.


The two prospect arms coming back to the Phillies organization are both power righthanders. 
Alberto Tirado is a still-developing 21-year old who came into the season as the #22 prospect in the Toronto system as rated by Baseball America. His fastball/slider combo are both MLB-caliber, but he has been described by prospect expert John Sickels as "still more thrower than pitcher."
This season has pretty much been more of the same for Tirado. He is 4-3 with a 3.23 ERA and 1.304 WHIP, having allowed just 45 hits in 61.1 innings, but with a 61/35 K:BB ratio. He can pitch towards the back of a big league bullpen, but needs to firm up his command if he wants to maintain a career up in the Majors.
Jimmy Cordero is a 23-year old who was in his 4th season moving through the Toronto system after signing in 2012 out of the Dominican Republic. 
Another power righty with command issues, Cordero has 129 strikeouts in 126.1 career minor league innings, but also has 69 career walks. T
This year, Cordero may be showing signs of progress. He has a 2.70 ERA and 1.20 WHIP across 50 innings in 32 games over two minor league levels. He has allowed just 40 hits, with a 46/20 K:BB ratio.
The Phillies will be paying the balance of Revere's $4.1 million salary for this season, and he will begin to get even more expensive moving forward for Toronto, as he is now eligible for arbitration. He cannot become a free agent until after the 2018 season.
To take Revere's spot on the roster, and to provide outfield depth, the Phils promoted Jordan Danks from AAA Lehigh Valley. 
Danks has big league experience with the White Sox from 2012-14. He was hitting just .245 with 3 homers, 3 steals, 33 RBI, and 28 runs scored in 353 plate appearances with the IronPigs, so he will be a bench player at most, barring injuries.
The actual major effect on the Phillies lineup should be increased playing time as the regular everyday center fielder for Rule 5 pickup Odubel Herrera
The 23-year old has had a few growing pains as he is learning the outfield for the first time, and learning to perform like a big leaguer. But he has also shown flashes of offensive brilliance, and clearly deserves a full-time shot.
Another trade for arms, for what the Phillies hope will be a brighter future. One thing is certain after all the deals of this past week, the page is finally turning on the past, and a direction towards the future is starting to come into focus.
Just three players remain now from the 2008 World Series champions: Ryan HowardChase Utley, and Carlos Ruiz. All three are likely to be placed on waivers as early as today. 
Utley in particular, should he recover from his current injury woes, return to the field, and pass through those waivers unclaimed, could be dealt during the month of August.
This is the direction that the team needs to take. We'll always have the great memories of that recent "Glory Era" team, and will have plenty of time to relive their heroics, as was done last night at Citizens Bank Park with the Wall of Fame induction of Pat Burrell
But there is a time to every purpose, and it is now time for the Phillies to move towards tomorrow.

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